NYC Debuts Sneaky, Scary Matchbooks to Help Smokers Quit

NYC matchbooks.jpgThe New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (incidentally, should we ever have a spin-off blog, it will be called “Mental Hygiene”) is following up on its Yves Behar-designed condom wrapper and dispenser blitz of earlier this year with matchbooks designed to freak out smokers with photos of cancer-ravaged lungs, rotting teeth, and throat tumors, accompanied by the warning, “Cigarettes are eating you alive.” The wince-inducing matchbooks (pictured at right) were designed in-house as part of the Health Department’s 2008 “Eating You Alive” advertising campaign. They are free at 132 cigarette retailers throughout New York City.

NYC match ext.jpg“Throat cancer, gum disease, blackened lungs—these are the realities of smoking,” said NYC Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden in a press release. “Many countries put these images right on the cigarette pack, where they belong. While the U.S. hasn’t done this yet—and New York City is pre-empted from requiring cigarette package labels—we are putting these images where New Yorkers buy cigarettes…in the hope they’ll think twice about the decision to continue smoking.” From the outside, the new matchbooks appear ordinary. Only when opening the unmarked black cover does one encounter the possible consequences of lighting up in close-ups so gruesome that they might also prove to be valuable weight loss tools if viewed at mealtimes. The back cover (at left) features a final quit smoking message and phone number positioned just above the striker.